When it comes to oral care, our priorities generally lie in preventing cavities from forming on our teeth. We might also be more geared at maintaining a bright and beautiful smile that will boost our confidence and put us in good social graces. An often overlooked but critical component of dental care is the maintenance of healthy gums.

Many of us barely take the time to look at or even take care of our gums. We assume that if our teeth are clean and healthy-looking, then our gums must be healthy by default. But that might not always be the case and if we don’t take good care of our gums, it is eventually going to adversely affect our overall health and wellbeing.

Gums consist of very soft skin tissues that cover the bones holding your teeth. This soft skin tissue tightly seals your teeth and the underlying bone support system and helps in protecting these areas from bacteria and other extremities.

Without proper gum care, you can suffer from a host of gum conditions ranging from swollen and bleeding gums to receding gums all of which will have serious health implications.

Gum Diseases

The most common gum problems are the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis. Without good oral care, the bacteria in your mouth will attack your gums leading to red, swollen and bleeding gums. In mild conditions such as gingivitis, these symptoms will not cause severe pain and can heal quickly if you start practicing better oral care. Without that, the gingivitis will gradually progress into the more critical condition of periodontitis that is characterised by bright red gums, bad breath, loose teeth, aching teeth, receding gums and even tooth loss.

Preventing Sore, Swollen and Bleeding Gums

The best way to prevent the gum diseases is by practicing excellent oral health. Brush your teeth daily and floss your teeth regularly. A good diet can also help prevent periodontal diseases. Eat healthy foods that are rich in Vitamin C and drinks lots of water. You can also cut down on the cigarettes and avoid taking drinks with extreme temperatures.

Receding Gums

Gum recession is also a common gum condition that you are likely to suffer from if you do not take proper care of your gums and overall oral health. It occurs when the margin of the gum that is covering your teeth begins to wear out and pull back and in the process exposing more of the tooth or even the root of the tooth. Gum recession can be caused by any of the following:-

  • Female hormonal changes
  • Brushing your teeth aggressively may also lead to gum loss.
  • Genetic factors: There are people who are more susceptible to gum recession.
  • Periodontal diseases: Bacteria in the gums may end up destroying the gum tissue if there is a buildup and you don’t apply proper dental care tips to address it.
  • Tobacco use: Extended tobacco use can deposit difficult to remove plaque on your teeth that may eventually cause gum recession.

When the gum recedes, a gap is left between the gum line and the tooth and this can be a pathway for a bacteria build-up. If gum recession is not treated in time, it will damage the supporting tissues and bone structures and could eventually cause tooth loss.

Effects of gum recession include the following:

  • Hypersensitivity to hot or cold temperatures in the exposed tooth root.
  • It will be harder for you to maintain good oral hygiene
  • Gum inflammation and a buildup of plaque will eventually cause tooth decay.

Gum recession can be treated through a number of interventions ranging from deep cleaning of the affected areas to surgical, soft tissue grafting and gum regeneration procedures. Depending on the severity of the gum damage, treatment can be lengthy and costly.

Good oral care is key to maintaining healthy gums and will likely prevent most of the commonly occurring gum diseases and conditions.